By Jon Roe
Bono, dubbed by fans a benevolent Messiah, is the lead singer of the popular band U2, and a self-serving ass hat. Bono’s throngs of squealing 40- year-old women will be quick to point out that he’s done an enormous amount of charity work for many admirable causes, among these the struggle against poverty in Africa. No one is going to deny that Bono has done a buttload of charity concerts, but the thing no one seems to notice is that every single one of these well-publicized tragedies coincides with U2’s latest album release. Most recently, we’ve seen Bono performing at a hurricane Katrina benefit for the people of New Orleans. Does this mean that Bono should be equated to Mother Theresa, lulling dying plauge victims as they slip into the abyss? No. It means U2 needs to promote their new single, “City of Blinding Lights.”
U2 started out as one of those bands that were more popular in the UK than in the desirable American market. All that changed when U2 signed on with the Live Aid benefit concert in 1985. Their EP Wide Awake in America was released at the beginning of that year and failed to succeed. It was only after they played Live Aid, visited Ethiopia and called for a boycott against playing in South Africa because of apartheid, that the EP finally found success in America. At the Live Aid concert, it’s important to note that Bono called poverty in Africa an emergency. However, for the next two years, he failed to do any charity work towards his proclaimed emergency.
Enter The Joshua Tree, which quickly became the number one album worldwide and established U2 as a world-renowned band in 1987. On the resulting tour, Bono did a lot of preaching about poverty in Africa, and took very little action to rectify it. In fact, for the next five years, Bono did little of anything charitable, comfortably riding the wave his previous philanthropy brought, until the Zoo TV tour in 1992, when U2 played a show to protest the building of a nuclear waste facility in Manchester called “Stop Shellafield.” This is after he spent Â£1000 to have his favorite hat flown from his home in the UK to Pavarotti’s home before a joint concert in Italy. Five years of nothing, then a major tour and stopping nuclear waste? What happened to the emergency of African poverty?
Cashing in on the conflict in Bosnia, a much more popular social issue at the time, Bono and the boys played a concert in Sarajavo in 1997, corresponding with the release of the single “If God Will Send Her Angels.” November of 1998 saw Bono performing a version of Lou Reed’s “A Perfect Day” for BBC’s “Children in Need” charity, corresponding with the release of U2’s Best of 1980-1990.
In 2001, Bono finally returned to the cause he so emphatically proclaimed as an emergency back in the ’80s. He organised a group of artists to perform a version of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” with proceeds from the single going to benefit AIDs relief in Africa–at least until a little thing called 9/11. Once again, Bono found a much more popular beneficiary, the proceeds from the single wrenched from the shrivelled hands of AIDs victims and thrust into those of 9/11. All the while, U2 was promoting their single “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out of.”
February of 2002 saw Bono at the World Economic Forum a month after the release of the EP 7. Unfortunately, the WEF didn’t see Bono again in 2003, or 2004 for that matter. However, in January of 2005, during the height of philanthropy for Asia’s Boxing Day tsunami, Bono again returned to the WEF, corresponding with the release of the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in November of 2004 and the promotion of the video and single “All Because of You.”
Bono is an asshole. The man uses his “noble causes” to promote new U2 albums and singles and people laud him as a saint. If the man didn’t get a return investment off African poverty, he wouldn’t bother. Bono isn’t Mother Teresa, and he isn’t Ghandi. He’s simply another rock star with an image he uses to peddle his substandard music.